Saturday, August 15, 2015

Loyalty is a tool to get people to do things they don't want to do.

On the tv show House, S8 last episode:

> Friends respect each others' decisions even if they don't agree with them. It's called loyalty. 
> Loyalty is a tool to get people to do things they don't want to do. 

I agree with the second statement.

The first statement needs some qualifiers. for example, i wouldn’t respect a friend’s decision to commit murder. i don't want murdering friends.

that raises a question. if i'm willing to break loyalty to a friend if he does something that crosses a line for me, then doesn't that mean i'm not loyal to any friends?

but the thing is, i think literally everybody has some lines that if a friend crosses it, then it's time to break loyalty and reject that friend. so what's the value of this loyalty concept? i don't get it.

is there some different way to look at this to save the concept?

i recall learning about the concept of tolerance. i learned that in order for tolerance to work, you have to be intolerant of intolerance. i wonder if the loyalty concept has a similar feature.

so what's loyalty about? like if a friend needed help, you help him. and the conventional view is that you help him even if it means sacrificing yourself some.

now if we change this to only helping as long as it's non-sacrificial help, then what? is that still loyalty?

i don't think so. i think loyalty means willingness to sacrifice yourself for the benefit of the person you're being loyal to. basically you're promising that when the time comes, you'll sacrifice yourself for his benefit. so if i'm not willing to sacrifice myself, then i'm not making any promises to my friend.

because if i non-sacrificially help somebody, that doesn't need loyalty. it's just regular human interaction. loyalty is needed for situations above and beyond human interactions involving non-sacrificial help. and that's the point. loyalty requires sacrifice. so if you are unwilling to sacrifice, then you're not doing loyalty.

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